Missions Misunderstood » Blog Archive » The Difference Between Coming and Going

Posted August 9th, 2007 by E. Goodman

It occurs to me that much of our missionary efforts today are carried out as though God wasn’t on the field.

God doesn’t “send” us. He calls us to join Him. There’s a difference. If we think that we’re doing something great for God, or that He (or the “nations”) needs us in any way, we think too highly of ourselves.

Consider the terminology we use: “Reaching the nations for Christ.” “Finishing the Task.” “Building the Kingdom.” “Engaging people.” Because we haven’t been careful to explain what they originally meant, these trite phrases have helped shape a human-centered missiology among many believers.

Few missions strategies include something like, “Get involved in the community and wait for God to bring us the people in whom He is already working.”

Instead, we have people canvassing neighborhoods in search of anyone who will listen, and broad (and generic) “Sowing of the gospel.” It’s as though we were afraid that the God who called us to the field has left us to search blindly for what He might do.

Why do we view the role of the missionary as perpetually active (“reaching,” “evangelizing,” “sharing,” etc.) and rarely passive (“being given the opportunity,” “being used,” “being led”)?

Filed under:Missiology, Misunderstood